The Web and the GRID: from e-science to e-business.
The conference theme was intended to prompt debate on the convergence of three technologies that are considered candidates for the future information infrastructure: Web Services, the Grid and the Semantic Web.
These are often presented as three different visions supported by different technologies. However, in the current state of development convergence is appearing.
The Grid using Globus technology has pioneered in e-science the distributing on computing applications across multiple sites and the application of terabytes of data over gigabit communication links to teraflop computers. The Grid is now moving to adopting OGSA based on Web services thereby providing a declarative rather than a procedural representation of available services.
Web services are developing to provide declarative interfaces to services offered by systems on the Internet. They include messaging protocols, service interfaces and directory services as well as security layers not included in the Grid technology so far. However, they have not been applied to the large data, communication and processing sizes that the Grid has, so lessons on scaling up to these large applications can be learned from the Grid.
The Semantic Web vision has been demonstrated in a Web environment using RDF and Ontology languages such as DAML+Oil and OWL, but with these also provide mechanisms for defining vocabularies for service properties and qualities such as DAML-S has shown which can be adopted by both Web Services and the Grid in order to lead to clear description of what services offer, and to support machine negotiation of policies for quality of service and trust.
The communities who identify with the web, the GRID, Web Services, Grid Services and Semantic Web should not be isolated from each other, but need to come together to unify their approaches to meet the real needs of information, data and knowledge technology users.